A U.S. grain export terminal near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is loading about 38,000 tons of U.S. soybeans on a bulk cargo vessel for shipment to Brazil, according to Southport Agencies shipping lineup.
Brazil is the world's top exporter of soybeans, so it almost never needs imports. This year, growers have sold huge volumes to top importer China, leaving little for domestic consumption. That has led to price rises for feed for animal farming and meatpacking operations in Brazil, and contributed to food inflation.
Brazil last month temporarily suspended import tariffs on corn, soybeans and soy products from outside its Mercosur trading bloc in a bid to have more supplies and rein in inflation. It has been importing soybeans from neighboring Paraguay and Uruguay.
The U.S. shipment to Brazil represents the largest such transaction since 1997, when the country imported more than 600,000 tons of U.S. soy, according to U.S. Census Bureau trade data.
The vessel Discoverer arrived at the Louis Dreyfus Port Allen, Louisiana, terminal along the Mississippi River on Monday morning, according to Refinitiv Eikon vessel data.
The Discoverer, chartered by Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), is due to arrive at Brazil's Paranaguá port on Nov. 20, according to Cargonave, a shipping agent.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said last week that the country was shopping for imported soybeans and rice.
Of the roughly 56.3 million tons of soybeans China imported from April through September this year, 48.9 million tons, or 86%, came from Brazil. The next harvest will not begin until January, so Brazil could be short on supplies for months.
Larger quantities of U.S. soybeans would require approval of certain genetically modified soy traits that are authorized in the United States but not in Brazil, according to oilseeds crusher industry group Abiove.